Ft. Hood Shooting: Composure Under Fire

Dr. Stephen Beckwith (left) and Pvt. Joseph Foster, who was shot in the leg during last Thursday's shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, on "The Early Show," November 9, 2009. CBS

In the hail of gunshots at Fort Hood last Thursday Pvt. Joseph Foster took a hit in the leg.

"The bullet just went in, hit my femur and bounced right back out," he said on CBS' "The Early Show." "Just a pretty good hole."

His injury is healing, but he recalled that at the moment he was shot during last week's rampage he felt "kind of scared. Only one word to really describe it: terrifying."

Foster, 21, confirmed reports that during the shooting Hasan "did yell in Arabic. He hopped up and stated, 'Allahu Akbar.'"

Foster, who was scheduled for deployment to Afghanistan in January, said that despite his injury and unease on his wife's part, he is ready to go: "I'm a soldier. It's my job."

Across Fort Hood, signs point to a post on the mend after Thursday's shooting spree that killed 13 and wounded another 29.

Special Section: Tragedy at Fort Hood

Accused gunman Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, shot in the torso by civilian police to end the rampage, was in critical but stable condition and breathing on his own at an Army hospital in San Antonio.

Sixteen victims remained hospitalized with gunshot wounds, and seven were in intensive care.

Dr. Stephen Beckwith, who was one of the first on the scene to treat the wounded, said he was impressed by the camaraderie and composure under duress that he witnessed:

"I think the first thing that really stood out to me was what soldiers were doing really for their buddies on the scene," he told Rodriguez. "A lot of buddies were coming in with makeshift stretchers and whatnot. I remember at least one or two soldiers who waved me away and said, 'See this guy first.' So I think that's just fantastic to see that kind of composure out of our kids out there."

He also praised the work of the medical teams given what were the worst of conditions:

"Just the number of patients was more than most of us had seen at one time," Dr. Beckwith said. "So dealing with the volume was difficult. But I think we put a pretty good response together. I'm proud of the EMS guys at the scene, folks at the hospital, and really grateful for the support we had from some of the surrounding EMS agencies and surrounding hospitals. They were fantastic in getting our response together."

Warning Signs Missed?

Authorities continue to refer to Hasan, 39, as the only suspect in the shootings but they won't say when charges would be filed and have said they have not determined a motive, amid growing suggestions that Hasan's superior officers .

Classmates who participated in a 2007-2008 master's program at a military college said they complained to faculty about what they considered to be Hasan's anti-American views, which included his giving a presentation that justified suicide bombing and telling classmates that Islamic law trumped the U.S. Constitution.

"If Hasan was showing signs, saying to people that he had become an Islamist extremist, the U.S. Army has to have zero tolerance," Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., said on "Fox News Sunday." "He should have been gone." He said he would begin an investigation into what the Army should have known about Hasan.

When asked on "The Early Show" about whether the Army should be held accountable if it turns out that Hasan had any ties to terrorism and they ignored warning signs, Dr. Beckwith was circumspect:

"You know, those things are tough to sort out. It's hard to crawl into someone's head and figure out their motives. Right now we're just focused on taking care of these guys and getting forward from here."

Despite questions that Hasan's viewpoints should have raised red flags about his suitability for serving in the sensitive mission area of counseling other soldiers, and even a report that in 2001 , Foster did not seem to believe that warning signs had been ignored.

"I have full faith in my Army and my family," he told "Early Show" anchor Maggie Rodriguez. "I think if there was anything that could have been done, it would have been done."

Resolute Soldiers Ready for Return

Even as the community took time to mourn the victims at worship services on and off the post Sunday, Fort Hood spokesman Col. John Rossi said the country's largest military installation was moving forward with the business of soldiering. The processing center where Hasan allegedly opened fire remains a crime scene, but the activities that went on there were relocated, with the goal of soon reopening the center.

"There's a lot of routine activity still happening. You'll hear cannon fire and artillery fire," Rossi said. "Soldiers in units are still trying to execute the missions we have been tasked with."

Sgt. 1st Class Frank Minnie was in the processing center Monday and Wednesday, getting some health tests and immunizations in preparation for his deployment. The mass shooting happened Thursday, but Minnie said Fort Hood soldiers have the attitude that "the mission still goes on."

"Everybody's going to grieve a little bit. It hurts a lot because it's one of your battle buddies, and someone lost a mom, dad, brother or sister," said Minnie, 37, who served in Iraq in 2006. "But it doesn't change my perspective of going to war. I've got a job to do."


More Coverage of the Tragedy at Fort Hood:
Did Army Miss Signs of Hasan's Extremism?
Fort Hood Reflects, but Work Carries On
Hasan Computer Shows No Terror Ties
List of Fort Hood Dead, Wounded
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